Kofi Annan To Syria: Cease Fire
The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, today urged the Syrian Government and opposition forces to stop the violence, stressing that all hostilities must end by Thursday morning.
“We still have time between now and the 12th to stop the violence and I appeal to all concerned, the Government in the first place, and the opposition forces,” Mr. Annan said at a press conference in Turkey.
Last week, the Syrian Government told Mr. Annan that it would complete the withdrawal of troops by 10 April.
The Envoy has stated that, once that happens, all parties should move immediately to cease all forms of violence, so that a complete cessation is in place by 06:00 Damascus time on 12 April.
A UN team is in the country to start technical preparations for the potential deployment of observers to monitor a cessation of armed violence and the full implementation of Annan’s six-point peace plan.
Annan reiterated his conviction that his plan, which was submitted last month during his visit to Damascus, can still be implemented.
“I believe it’s a bit too early to say that the plan has failed,” said Annan. “The plan is still on the table and it’s a plan we are all fighting to implement. It’s a plan the Council has endorsed, a plan the Syrians have endorsed, and from the comments made by the opposition they are also prepared to go along with it if the Government meets its commitments to pull the troops out. So the plan is very much alive.”
Annan said he would submit a report to the Security Council today sharing the information he has received from the Syrian Government on troop withdrawals, and stated that there have been indications of the Government withdrawing in various cities.
However, he expressed concern over reports from other sources indicating that there have been military movements to other areas which have not previously been targeted.
“We are not on the ground yet. One of the things that we are discussing is a UN monitoring mission that will monitor and supervise the cessation of violence,” Annan said, underlining that a presence in the country will help to monitor, observe and report on the situation.
Annan is scheduled to visit a refugee camp in Turkey later today before leaving for discussions with officials in Iran.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today said it is sending a team to provide technical assistance to nine camps in the border between Turkey and Syria, which have so far been run by Turkish authorities.
UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva that a plane with 1,600 tents and 1,400 blankets was sent to Turkey today, and stressed that the agency is working closely with the Turkish Red Crescent and Turkish authorities to ensure the supplies are distributed locally.
He added that the agency has received reports concerning attacks in refugee camps in Turkey, but stated that details are still unclear and it will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Currently, there are 24,564 registered Syrian refugees in Turkey; 10,112 in Lebanon; 7,021 in Jordan; and 792 in Iraq.
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Updated on 2013-05-09 09:25
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